The Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church is an worldwide community of Christians, made up of over a billion members.
The Church is divided into diocese, each of which is under the direction of a bishop. The bishops have teaching authority. The Bishop of Rome (the Pope), is considered to be the successor of the apostle, Peter, and is the visible sign of unity between the churches. A statement from the Pope, when he speaks “ex cathedra” (Latin: from the teaching chair) about faith and tradition is without error.
The Church´s responsibility is to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. The Bible is the written source. In addition, the Church has oral sources which reach back to the Early Church. The Creeds which the Church uses date from the Councils of Nicea (325AD) and Constantinople (381AD).
The Catholic Church has seven sacraments: Baptism, Holy Communion, Confirmation, Penance and Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick, Marriage and Priestly Ordination. The communion service is called the Mass. The language used during the service is usually the normal mother tongue, but Latin which was formerly the language of the Church, may also be used.
The Church permits believers to live in religious communities with special rules (for example, taking vows of celibacy, obedience and poverty) in order to fulfill special spiritual and social needs in the Church, as well as in society at large. The Franciscan Sisters (FMM) are an example of this.
The community of the Church reaches beyond death. The Church – after an appeal – having examined the life of a person who has made Christ known in a special way, may solemnly proclaim this person a saint. It is then possible to ask her/him to intercede for one in prayer. Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is foremost amongst the saints.
Christian Gabrielsen, diacon
The Catholic Church in Denmark
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